Chloe first used a touch screen at an Occupational Therapy visit. She now has one of her own at our house (Touch Window), that was provided by our school district augmentative team. The software that came with the touch screen is interactive and specific for Chloe's age-group. I LOVE it because it helps Chloe with fine-motor skills, decision-making skills, and is helping her learn things like counting, colors, etc, etc.... while having fun! It doesn't get any better than that. =)
We use The Listening Program cd's from Advanced Brain Technologies. Chloe loves listening to the music and its benefits have been proven to help those with neurologic disorders. Before she was approved for the program by an audiologist, we were anxious to do music therapy and started out with Sound Health cd's, which Chloe also really enjoyed (and they also seemed to help with sensory integration!)
We don't have this yet, but I've heard rave reviews from some friends who do hippotherapy with Chloe that the special tomato chairs and strollers are 'can't live without' items. I'm eying this chair for Chloe.
In the meantime, we use the Bjorn Baby Sitter. I like it because it folds up to be flat, so it's easy to take places when we need to have somewhere to sit her, but don't necessarily want to take the bulky wheelchair or stroller.
Z-vibe for picky eaters who need a little help with strong tastes or oral defensiveness...it's fun and the kids love it. You can add flavors to the tip before meals or during meals, use it for introducing new foods or for those that the kiddos don't like.
My kiddos have all benefited from the Wilbarger Brushing Protocol. It has calmed them and helped them focus and brought them to a place where they can enjoy things instead of being stressed.
The play tunnel from IKEA (less than $20)...perfect for getting the kiddos on their hands and knees for good gross motor skills and heavy work. We put "rewards" or fun toys at the end of the tunnel to get them through.
First is Logan's P's and Q's Chewy Tubes. Kinda funny, I had these chewy tubes for over a year and he never touched them no matter how I disguised them. All of a sudden, one day something clicked and now he LOVES gnawing on those darn things! So much that he chewed through the Q's squiggly majigger. Time for some new ones.
Second is his Freedom Concepts Bicycle. Only the best bike on earth! The support and ease of this bike makes riding a bike enjoyable for the kiddo and it's NOT WORK. One of the best features for the parent is the ability to steer and brake from behind. Kiddos have the capability of steering and pedaling all by themselves as they gain the ability. I could literally rant and rave about this bike night and day. If I only had the time, I would!
There are lots of "can't live without" items in our house. For me a main thing would be Junior's overhead lift. The lift is a portable overhead system called the easy track, the motor is called the Voyager and is made by Guardian. He has a set of the legs in his bedroom and also in our living room. There is ten feet between the legs so plenty of room to wheel his chair underneath for lifts or for him to get on his bike or just hang out on the floor.
His swing is an indoor swing and it's probably my most favorite luxury item for Ben. My kids climb in with him and love to swing away. Available from South Paw Industries.
His jogger stroller is a handicap built one and I love it more than his wheelchair because it can go EVERYWHERE! His wheelchair is really made for smooth surfaces, not outdoorsy ones and so we end up using that more.
We use the hensinger for more head support. The hensinger has been great to use with the carseat, stroller, tumbleform chair, etc. We cover it with fancy knee socks or leg warmers for a more stylish look.
I love the Svan High Chair. The seat height and depth is adjustable same with the foot rest. It grows with the child.
Kennedy loved the Kaye Reverse Walker. She could walk and stand holding this. It was great for her to get around. Gotta get the handle though...it is a back-saver for the caregiver.
We love the infinity feeding pump. It is portable, small and light weight. It can be used on an IV pole, by itself or in a backpack. This has made tube feeding so much easier. The only issues we have is that the cover that closes sometimes has broken. We use a medical company to get all our tube feeding supplies, so we have been able to just trade. I would definitly prefer to rent vs buy because of this issue.
Another thing we liked, but currently do not have to use, are farrell valve bags. These we used while Kennedy had a gjtube for gastric pressure relief. These we did some homemade covers for as the contents are not pretty.
Brandon also has the best carseat in the world [the Britax Traveler Plus]. Without it he would slump down in his seat and cry because he was so uncomfortable. What is different about this chair is that it is made especially for special needs with extra cushion and head support. It is like the carseats of all carseats... its our cadallic for Brandon.
I would be one back hurtin momma if I did not have this Bath Chair. When Brandon turned a year old it seemed harder and harder to get him in the tub and out. So we got a Bath Chair and they are great. It lays on the bottom of the tub or on a stand. The back lounges back all the way or you can have them in sitting position. This chair is awesome for something as important as a bath.
We have lots of equipment, but by far our favorite is the newest: Clayton's bicycle. Clayton had been asking to ride a bike for a while, but we knew he would need a modified one. Then he actually won one at our church's Easter raffle! Brian did his best to modify it so that he could somehow ride it, but there was no way he would ever feel "independent" on it. We started researching adapted bikes online and found this one (Triad) at adaptivemall.com. It took a month or so to actually get it once it was ordered since they are made to specific order, but it was worth the wait and the hefty price tag!!! On the very first day, he learned to propel himself and within a week, he could steer it by himself! It's given him such a sense of independence--he loves it!! It's great exercise for both his legs and his lungs, not to mention great occupational therapy for his hands. Was it expensive? Yes. Was it worth it? YOU BETCHA! The look on his face when he's totally in control of where he is going is PRICELESS!
Sure Step SMO ankle braces (http://surestep.net/media/pdf/SMO-trifold-brochure.pdf). These were a great alternative to a bulkier AFO. They were very lightweigt and fit into way more shoes than some of the alternatives. And, sometimes, even a cute shoe makes the littlest of ladies feel pretty. More importantly, they seemed to have done the trick and give her the support she needed to walk, and from what her pediatric orthopedic surgeon tells us she really "looks good". Currently, her doctor (orthopedist) and her physical therapist are going back and forth as to whether or not she even needs AFOs anymore. Given their reasons, our own research, her progress, and our 'gut' feeling, we have decided to let her try it on her own for awhile. Things are going great!
Benik wrist/hand splints (http://www.benik.com). Betsy's wrists deviated pretty badly for the first year or so of her life. We put these on her for naps, and bedtime, and any other 'down time' and by 18 months or so, she didn't have to wear them anymore. For awhile, her wrists would deviate when she was tired, but now I don't notice it at all anymore. They were hand-washable, and could be re-molded as she grew.
Pediatric reverse wheel walker. This little device was awesome. She may have only used it for about 6 months, but it really gave her the confidence she needed to go it alone. She has been walking for a little over a year now, completely independantly. Towards the end of her journey with the walker, she would CARRY it up off of the ground while walking. That was our sign that she didn't need it anymore. WOW! That's double the work if you ask me!
Prentke Romich Springboard (http://www.prentrom.com/springboardlite). This little puppy is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! Betsy is still learning the ropes of the Sprinboard and working on her fine motor coordination to push the buttons, especially in the smaller cell settings, but it has really given her the communication outlet she has been yearning for. Right now, we use it for simple games, books, basic routines, and school lesson plans. It is really a profound thing to watch her lead a game of 'Simon Says' with her sister and brothers, and they love that she can do it, too. You can also download your own pictures for the cells. So, there could be a whole page of your family members, or kids that your child goes to school with, etc. This gives her a really functional association which is fantastic. This is by far my favorite piece of equipment we've encountered. She loves it!
What are the 'cannot live without' items in your house? Please share!!!